Growing up I use to love the way the house smelled on Sundays. The smell of the Sunday Gravy (in my house it was gravy) would fill the house as we watched the Yankees / Giants game. It was a tradition that went back to when my Dad was a kid, Sunday Dinner. The family would get together, sit around the table and eat.
Sundays always started out the same, my Dad would get up early and go and get bagels and we would have breakfast with my Grandparents. As kids my Grandma would butter our bagels for my brother and I, and not just butter it but cut the bagel into little pieces and feed us one piece at a time so we wouldn’t choke. To my Grandma feeding her loved ones is what she lived for.
In the afternoon, between 1-3pm we would eat dinner, like they do in Italy, the big meal in the afternoon. Sunday dinner was always basically the same, macaroni with gravy, meatballs, sausage, and pork. Some would think this would get monotonous, eating the same thing every week, well those people never had my Grandma’s cooking.
Every Sunday she would call up the stairs “Time to eat”. We would sit around the table, eat and talk, and something as simple as macaroni would bring the family together for a few hours. As I got older, into my teens being home on Sunday afternoon became more of a chore than something I looked forward too. Being a kid I didn’t see the what it was about, I just saw that if I was with my friends I had to go home early to eat dinner. It made my Grandma happy to feed people, and if me and my brother had friends over on a Sunday they were always welcome to eat with us.
As my Grandma got older and her mind started to slip my Mom took over the Sunday dinners. My Mom was a new school Italian Mom. She wasn’t as passive as my Grandma was, my Mother was very out spoken and told you what was on her mind, but like my Grandma, to my Mom her family was everything and she couldn’t do enough for them.
My Mother’s Sunday Dinners were different in the fact that it was latter in the day and my Mom would mix it up, always a macaroni but she changed what it was with. An old tradition became a new one, as the Sunday dinner would lead in to watching our favorite Sunday night HBO shows. My Dad worked on Sunday nights so it was my brother, Mom and I watching our shows. As we got older most times it was me and my Mom watching the shows. The Soprano’s was our favorite, and every year on the season premier she would cook a big macaroni dinner to have while we watched the Sopranos. I looked forward to this every week and is now one of the things I miss the most now that she is gone.
My Grandma and my Mom are both gone now, and so are the Sunday Dinners that ended my week growing up and into my late 20’s. I look back on them and it makes me sad that they still don’t happen, but like with everything else life goes on. Now my Sundays are usually spent at a comedy club performing, that has now become my tradition, that I love and don’t want to give up. I guess what I regret now more than anything is ever feeling like those dinners were a chore, or if I ever made my Grandma or Mom feel that way. Nothing is perfect and life is what it is, but if I could have a perfect Sunday it would be eating a dinner cooked by my Mom and Grandma, eating with my family then going to the comedy club.